Saturday, May 31, 2014

Aix en Provence:

"The charms of Aix-en-Provence are commonly sung. With a historic core as perfect as any in France, it glories in the medieval period of independent Provence, the riches of its seventeenth and eighteenth centrury growth and the memory of itts most famous sons, Zola and Cezanne."


Cours Mirabeau is the Champs Elysees of Aix-en-Provence. While it often feels like a completely pedestrian street, in fact vehicles are allowed.
The lobby of HOtel des Augustins, just off the main drag, which we can highly recommend. However, don't expect large floor to ceiling glass....it was once a monestery!
We came here for three days, since we'd often thought about visiting during our house exchange days, but had never been successful.  We stayed the first night at Hotel des Augustins, a converted medieval monestery, just off the cours Mirabeau, the main street. With its wide sidewalks lined with restaurants and fine shops, it is a very impressive street.

What the guide books didn't describe is an impressive area of new buildings near the western end of the street. There were some impressive new buildings, as well as a bridge with an impressive green wall and what is planned as a major water feature.
 


Sadly, there are many homeless and beggars on the streets. This one was stationed right outside a church....a good spot I thought.
If someone can please explain what's happening here I'll be most appreciative. It seems like the graduating class for a naval or military school, but I wonder why they all have such long hair.



This new bridge features an attractive green wall on one side and a water feature on the other. However the later is not yet completed.
The forecourt of the new Renaissance Hotel...a truly 5 star hotel, with 5 star rates. It is part of the new development area just west of the centre-ville.
 
Some of the architectural gems in what I am calling the new town. Surprised by the ivy...
One of the things I liked about Aix is the streets are very lively much of the day and evening.
At the Cezanne Cafe you get a glass of rose, some nuts and olives for 2.5 euros, about $3.75 at the time.
I could not get over the prices people seemed to be paying for smoked salmon and various kinds of salami and smoked meats...in this case a smoked filet


We noticed this street shortly after we arrived. Little did we realize that we would have an apartment along it for 2 days, thanks to Dominica and Alastair. Much appreciated!
Sally correctly observed this courtyard almost looked like a movie set. Depending on the light, it looked quite fantastic.

I will probably always regret not getting these purple shoes...which came with various coloured laces!

All in all, we spent three delightful days in Aix-en-Provence. It is a special place. However, the surrounding towns and villages are not as pretty as the towns and villages of the Luberon and some of the other places we visited. We left Aix for Les Baux, where a very special day and dinner was set up by Philippe Boname!

 

1 comment:

voony said...

regarding the youngs in uniform:
they are student of a well regarded mechanical enginnering college (ENSAM), and have no tie with either a military or naval school.

it wasn't a graduation ceremony either, but just an event organized by the students themselves (as part of their college "traditions" which are a bit weird)